Career : 1966
Debut : Round 1, 1966 vs Richmond, aged 20 years, 349 days
Carlton Player No. 780
Games : 2
Goals : 1
Last Game: Round 2, 1966 vs St Kilda, aged 20 years, 354 days
Guernsey No. 4
Height : 188 cm (6 ft. 2 in.)
Weight : 78.5 kg (12 stone, 5 lbs.)
DOB : May 11, 1945
Since 1897, two men with the surname Thomas have represented the Carlton Football Club at senior level, and both preferred to be called Max. In each case, this was not their first given name, so a certain amount of confusion has resulted. The first Max Thomas to wear navy blue was Albert Maxwell Thomas, who played 24 games for Carlton between 1952 and ’54. He is now referred to as A. Max Thomas.
The second Max Thomas - and the one we are concerned with here – is John William Maxwell Thomas, who joined the Blues from Traralgon and wore guernsey number 4 in the first two games of season 1966. A slender ruckman-forward who had been a standout in Traralgon’s LaTrobe Valley Football League Premiership team the previous year, Max was a couple of weeks short of his 21st birthday when he made his debut in the opening game of the season against Richmond.
As usual when Carlton and the Tigers met during that era, that match was a fiery and controversial encounter. At half-time, the siren didn’t work, and the game continued for an extra five and a half minutes, causing a ground invasion by frustrated fans. Eventually, a mounted policeman galloped out to alert the field umpire, and order was eventually restored. Thomas started the game in a back pocket before being given a run in the ruck, where he soon marked within scoring range and kicked truly to bring up his one and only career goal. But in a torrid last quarter, Richmond’s better accuracy around the goals was decisive, and they beat the Blues by one straight kick.
Having shown some aerial ability, Thomas was retained in the team for round 2 against St Kilda at Moorabbin – where the Blues folded dramatically in the last quarter and were smashed by 53 points. Playing at full-forward, Thomas was well-held by the Saints champion full-back Verdun Howell, and did not trouble the scorers.
He was omitted from the team after that inglorious defeat, and within a week or two had decided to return home to Traralgon and the simpler joys of grass-roots football.